loose leaf tea


Perched high up on the eastern side of Sri Lanka’s central mountains in the region of Uva, sits the Thotulagalla Tea Estate. As well as producing fine organic tea, the estate has the additional advantage of breath-taking views across a hazy backdrop of rolling hills, lush valleys and the green of a tropical landscape – comprised mainly from tea.

Thotulagalla Tea Estate was established in 1931 and is spread over around 200 hectares of land, most of which is formed into hillside terraces where the tea grows in neat lines to form flat-topped picking ‘tables’. The tea here is excellent thanks to the rich and fertile soil, the cooler climate and an altitude of 1,500 meters above sea level.

In 1997 the estate was bought by the Muthuswamy family and in a bid to improve the environment, the owners made the decision to convert the farm to 100% organic production. This has resulted in a more sustainable landscape where nature lives in harmony with the tea and its workers.

The estate employs 184 people – and the vast majority of these live on the estate with housing being provided – each with a garden where families grow vegetables for their own consumption.

The estate produces green, oolong and black teas. To make their green tea the leaves are carefully hand plucked by an army of colourfully dressed women who skilfully pick the top two leaves and buds. The leaves are delivered to the factory where they are immediately steamed for around 60 seconds. This adds tenderness to the leaves and allows them to release their enzymes. The leaf is then pan fired to avoid any fermentation which would otherwise turn the tea to Oolong or black tea. After ten to fifteen minutes of drying the leaf is graded according to leaf sizes. The vast majority of tea produced is either Orange Pekoe or Pekoe.

When brewing loose leaves in a teapot use 1 teaspoon of leaf per person with 250mls of water per person.